Estes Park Trail Gazette – Estes`s third annual Earth Fest ready to roll

Eagle Rock School is putting the final touches on the Third Annual Earth Fest which kicks off the Estes Park Winter Festival this Friday night at the historic Stanley Hotel. Here`s a little taste of what`s in store for the weekend: Don`t miss the opening events on Friday evening, when the program in the Concert Hall at The Stanley will be free to all comers. Highlights of the evening are a new film by Ken Burns entitled, “The National Parks, America`s Best Idea,” earthbased dances of universal peace, food from the Alpenaire Cafe`, storytelling and a keynote lecture by Michael Brownlee, co-founder of Transition Colorado. Brownlee`s presentation will focus on “Making the Transition to Community Resilience and Self-Reliance.”

The festival will start anew Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in the Concert Hall with a welcome from the Estes Park Mayor Bill Pinkham, followed by an invocation and a keynote presentation by Emily Evans of Natural Capitalism Solutions. A panel discussion will round out the plenary session, introducing topics related to the concurrent workshops scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Come to the Concert Hall entrance to sign up for workshops and for directions to the different sessions. The morning breakout sessions will feature:

Architect Michael Tavel`s “Envisioning Sustainable Communities,” presenting three examples of sustainable communities and their relevance to Estes Park. Tavel will share insights about Swiss Alps mountain towns known for their dense, walkable urban environments, the rebuilt community of Greensburg, Kansas whose emergence as a “greentown” after being devastated by a 2007 tornado is making news around the world, and Geos, a 25-acre sustainable urban neighborhood planned for Arvada, Colorado. Tavel, of Denver, specializes in sustainable, urban mixed-use architecture and town planning. A life-long summer resident of the Estes area, Tavel is devoted to promoting sustainable urban land use in Colorado and the Mountain West.

A look inside ourselves in author Carolyn Baker`s workshop, “Inner Transiton: Without it, Nothing Changes.” This workshop will use storytelling to the steady beat of a drum to discover the inner treasure that we must access to begin the transition process. Baker, Ph.D., was an adjunct professor of history and psychology for 11 years and a psychotherapist in private practice for 17 years. Her latest book, Sacred Demise: Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization`s Collapse, is unique in its offering of emotional and spiritual tools for preparing for living in a post-industrial world.

Ashara Ekundayo`s workshop, “Grub Politics & Eco-Cultivation,” will engage the participant in the interconnectedness of class, race and culture as they relate to food, exploring solutions for growing community and economic sustainability through urban farming. A visionary, cultural activist, and entrepreneur, Ekundayo is an international lecturer and media personality who can be seen hosting “The Activist Studio” on Freespeech TV and on-air at community radio.

High Altitude Permaculture`s, Sandy Cruz will offer the workshop “Clarity and Opportunity in Turbulent Times.” Participants will consider their options and take some first steps toward strategic transformation. Cruz has been gardening at 9,200 feet and experimenting with plants for over 30 years. She founded High Altitude Permaculture in 1992 and holds a Diploma of Permaculture Design from the International Permaculture Institute. Sandy currently teaches Permaculture and consults on site planning and design in the Boulder area.

Trathen Heckman will offer a taste of change in “Community Empowerment: Education that inspires Action.” This workshop will focus on the work of Daily Acts including the organization of over 250 sustainability programs from backyard permaculture gardens and grey-water systems to collaborating on a 25,000 sq foot model garden at City Hall in Petaluma California. Participants will discuss how these models can be applied locally to inspire and build community, engage local government and business, and regenerate ecosystems. Heckman lives in the Petaluma River Watershed where he grows food, medicine and wonder while working to compost apathy and lack.

When the morning workshops end at 12:30 p.m., it will be nearly time to visit the sustainable living exhibits and vendors in the Concert Hall. Don`t worry if you are hungry, there will be nutritious, healthy food available in the basement and at some of the booths. Once you have paid your admission fee of $5 for adults and $2.50 for under 18, you can come and go freely. There will different groups of workshops presented in the afternoon, covering topics ranging from Dan Bartmann and Dan Fink`s “Wind Power Reality” covering the basics of how wind power works, including different wind turbine designs and sizes, what they cost, how much energy they can produce, and mounting and site requirements, to Peter MacGill and Cathee Courter`s workshop on “Ghosts, Earth Energies, and Electrosmog in the Estes Valley,”focusing on the interrelationships of ghosts, earth energies, electrosmog, and living people in the Estes Valley.

John Beaupre, of Standard Renewable Energy, will present “Review, Reduce, Renew: Introduction to Reducing Your Energy Bills,” a workshop on reducing your home`s energy consumption.

Students from Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colo., and Eagle Rock School from Estes Park, will share a workshop featuring the students and their commitment to diversity and sustainability.

A final workshop of the day will be Lynette Marie Hanthorn`s and Michael Brownlee`s “A Community VisionQuest,” in which participants will dream and envision what life in Estes Park might look like, feel like, taste like, and smell like by 2030. Participants of this workshop will seek to discover the possible future, a future that is very different from the present or the past. Hanthorn and Brownlee embrace the ethics and principles of the global Transition Movement to localize and regenerate community.

The exhibit booths and workshops will end at 5 p.m. in anticipation of the slow food dinner at 6 p.m., being served buffet style by nine area restaurants in the Pinon Room of the Stanley Hotel`s Main Hall. Get your slow food dinner tickets and enjoy what is becoming known as a scrumptious highlight of Earth Fest.

With dinner, the evening is just beginning. From the main hall guests are invited to return to the main venue in the Concert Hall to watch or join in “earth based” dances of universal peace which will lead up to the closing keynote at 7:30 p.m. Trathen Heckman will wrap up the day`s presentations, speaking on “Reverence and Resiliency – The Ecology of Awakened Action” hoping to answer the question: Why not a well lived, eco-designed life in service to your purpose, community and planet?

The evening will come to a finale with the variety show running from 8 to 10 p.m. in the Concert Hall. Enjoy local and regional, budding and mature, serious and not-so-serious talent that finds its way into the spotlight at Earth Fest.